Report: Lakers 'only known' team seeking Kyrie Irving sign-and-trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
But it appears only one of those teams is showing mutual interest.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Los Angeles Lakers are the "only known" team planning to pursue a sign-and-trade for the Brooklyn Nets star in free agency. The Nets, however, haven't shown any interest in the Lakers' available trade packages for Irving.
With the two sides at an impasse in contract talks, Brooklyn has granted Irving permission to seek a sign-and-trade, per the New York Daily News' Kristian Winfield. The Nets have been unwilling to meet Irving's contract demands even as the team has become vulnerable to a trade request from Kevin Durant, according to Wojnarowski.
The situation has left Irving with an intriguing decision to make this week. The seven-time All-Star has until Wednesday to either pick up or decline his $36.5 million player option for next season. Opting in would guarantee Irving a big payday in 2022-23 but make him ineligible for a sign-and-trade. While the point guard could still be traded after an opt-in, he would seemingly have less control over where he ends up.
In an opt-out scenario, Irving would likely need the Nets' cooperation in a sign-and-trade to get to a preferred destination on a huge deal. The Knicks, who seem to be preparing a pursuit of Jalen Brunson, are the only team on Irving's reported list projected to have cap space. The rest of the teams will have either the nontaxpayer mid-level exception ($10.35 million) or taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.39 million) as their largest potential free-agent offer.
The Lakers will have the taxpayer MLE at their disposal and Irving taking that deal from L.A. reportedly can't be ruled out. People with knowledge of the situation have "increasingly believed" Irving's willingness to sign with the Lakers on a one-year, $6 million deal, according to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer.
While free agency doesn't start for another few days, the NBA's silly season is well underway.